Someone wearing a wedge of cheese on their head might seem odd to most, but when the Green Bay Packers are in town, it’s part and parcel of game day.
The Packers played in London on Sunday, the first time the franchise has played in the UK – and the last of 32 NFL teams to play there.
Although some of the London games often had split crowds – with many just there to watch the sport they love – Green Bay’s game against the New York Giants at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was definitely a home game for the club. Wisconsin team.
And one jersey in particular was more popular than the others – a green and yellow jersey with the name “Rodgers” and the No. 12 on the back.
They all came to see the great Aaron Rodgers, the reigning NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP). And who could blame them, even at 38, he’s still among the best quarterbacks in the league.
Ahead of Sunday’s game, Rodgers expressed his personal enthusiasm to do more than just play in London.
“I wanted to go early to get a little bit of that culture, to be able to hang out, see some sites and interact with the fans, go to a pub and have a Guinness or whatever the local beer is,” he said.
“I’ve been talking about doing this for years, ever since they started this – I couldn’t wait to get it over with. But no one wants to give up a Green Bay home game, so it’s exciting to finally have the chance to go over the top.
And for those who traveled from all over to see the legendary quarterback for the first time, as many had, they were treated to a special first-half performance from Rodgers, but a quiet second half. .
Rodgers threw for two touchdowns, one each to Allen Lazard and Marcedes Lewis, as the Packers took a first-half lead only for the Giants to come back and win 27-22.
Green Bay built up a 10-point halftime lead as they appeared to be rolling, but a few offensive errors and strong Giants defense stopped the Packers and eventually turned the tide to New York.
Giants running back Saquon Barkley continued his strong start to the season, finishing the game with a touchdown and 106 total yards as the New York defense put the pliers on Rodgers late in the fourth quarter to seal the win. .
With less than two minutes to play, Rodgers had pushed the attack within 10 yards of the Giants. However, the Giants’ defensive linemen and linebackers deflected Rodgers’ passes and allowed the Giants to slow down time.
On the last play of the game, with only one last chance for a win, Rodgers was sacked by Oshane Ximines and fumbled the ball, giving the Giants the win.
It was a day of firsts for many, but also another away game.
Sunday’s game was London’s first game between two teams with winning records.
Green Bay’s arrival in the UK allowed many to see their favorite quarterback for the first time. However, for some, it was a reunion across the Atlantic.
For Sue, it was one of the traditional away games of her season.
“I try to go to two or three games a year and at least one away game and that’s our away game,” she says, also explaining that her trip from the United States to seeing his beloved Packers is for a birthday.
“I’ve been a Packers fan for 41 years. I would say (the biggest star in the NFL) is Rodgers, but Tom Brady has also done very well.
At the other end of the scale, for Martin and Nicola – both dressed in their own Rodgers jerseys – they were vicarious fans of the big man for a day.
“I’m not really a Packers fan. When I go to a game, I support the home team. So I’ve been to a lot of games in the United States,” said Martin, who says he’s seen a lot of great players – including Brady – in games in the United States.
“I was here last week and it was great.”
After the match, Rodgers said the reception in the UK was “special”, saying the atmosphere was like a home game while apologizing for the “disjointed performance”.
“The crowd was amazing,” Rodgers told media afterwards. “Our fans were loud all the time, it was exceptional. I hope the team will have the chance to come back and play here again. I will remember that for a long time.
“I would love to come back, but it remains to be seen in how many years and where I am.”
Whether they came as tourists to the UK to watch the Packers play in London or are watching them play in person for the first time, they were treated to the magic of Rodgers, despite the result, during its long-awaited debut in London. .
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